Hay & Forage Grower - January 2019

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January 2019

Time to move on pg 6 Alfalfa boot camp pg 10 Ranching school goes east pg 11 Equipment Focus pgs 12 to 23 Published by W.D. Hoard & Sons Co.

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FIND YOUR DEALER AT masseyferguson.us

© 2018 AGCO Corporation. Hesston and Massey Ferguson are brands of AGCO Corporation. AGCO®, Hesston® and Massey Ferguson® are trademarks of AGCO. All rights reserved. AG18N001FC

January 2019 · VOL. 34 · No. 1 MANAGING EDITOR Michael C. Rankin ART DIRECTOR Todd Garrett ONLINE MANAGER Patti J. Hurtgen DIRECTOR OF MARKETING John R. Mansavage ADVERTISING SALES Jan C. Ford jford@hoards.com Kim E. Zilverberg kzilverberg@hayandforage.com ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Patti J. Kressin pkressin@hayandforage.com W.D. HOARD & SONS PRESIDENT Brian V. Knox

22 A 26-year chopper man

EDITORIAL OFFICE 28 Milwaukee Ave. West, Fort Atkinson, WI, 53538 WEBSITE www.hayandforage.com EMAIL info@hayandforage.com PHONE (920) 563-5551

Vieira Custom Chopping is both a successful harvesting business and a forage harvester testing grounds.


Preserve quality with your mower Forage quality can be preserved with some simple adjustments to your mower-conditioner.


They widened the baling window This western South Dakota family started using a dew simulator to keep the baler rolling.






DEPARTMENTS 4 First Cut 6 Beef Feedbunk 8 Dairy Feedbunk 11 Pasture Ponderings 14 Forage Gearhead








24 25 34 34

Feed Analysis Machine Shed Forage IQ Hay Market Update


Consider these factors when buying a round baler Round baler options have multiplied in recent years. Buy one that fits your farm’s needs.





ON THE COVER Ben Bartlett, Traunik, Mich., greases his round baler before heading to the field. A retired area livestock extension specialist in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Bartlett and his wife, Denise, own Log Cabin Livestock, a diversified sheep and feeder steer operation. Photo by Mike Rankin

HAY & FORAGE GROWER (ISSN 0891-5946) copyright © 2019 W. D. Hoard & Sons Company. All rights reserved. Published six times annually in January, February, March, April/May, August/September and November by W. D. Hoard & Sons Co., 28 Milwaukee Ave., W., Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538 USA. Tel: 920-563-5551. Fax: 920-563-7298. Email: info@hayandforage.com. Website: www.hayandforage. com. Periodicals Postage paid at Fort Atkinson, Wis., and additional mail offices. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Free and controlled circulation to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified subscribers may subscribe at: USA: 1 year $20 U.S.; Outside USA: Canada & Mexico, 1 year $80 U.S.; All other countries, 1 year $120 U.S. For Subscriber Services contact: Hay & Forage Grower, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 USA; call: 920-563-5551, email: info@hayandforage.com or visit: www.hayandforage.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to HAY & FORAGE GROWER, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W., Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538 USA. Subscribers who have provided a valid email address may receive the Hay & Forage Grower email newsletter eHay Weekly.

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A New Day Has Dawned For Herbicide Resistance...


Mike Rankin Managing Editor

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Tail of the Dragon


WAS wrapping up a day of farm visits in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina when my host asked, “Where are you staying tonight?” “Sylva,” I responded. A quizzical look came across his face. “Why are you going down there?” “I have to be at a farm in Tennessee early tomorrow morning, and that looked like a good launching point,” I answered confidently as if three generations of my family had lived in the area. The interrogation continued: “How are you getting across the mountains?” I pulled out my cellphone and dialed up Google Maps. “I figured that I’d take Highways 28 and 129,” I said. “It looks like the straightest shot to Madisonville.” “They call that road the Tail of the Dragon,” my host replied without offering up any further details, then simply bid me “good luck.” That late-June night it rained hard. I awoke early and made some coffee, figuring I had about a three-hour drive ahead of me. Of course it was still dark, but it was also drizzling and foggy, as is often the case in the Blue Ridge. The hotel’s free breakfast buffet wasn’t open yet, so I gathered my belongings, threw them in the back seat, and set my Google Maps route. This was a routine I had repeated many times in the past. The initial leg of the trip occurred without incident. With the fog, road signs were a little hard to decipher, but I had the Google lady documenting my every move. I’ve often wondered about the Google lady’s spouse and what it’s like for that couple to go on a trip. Does she sit in the front seat and relay directions to her husband such as “Stay in the right lane, then in 500 feet turn right on Maple Drive . . . turn

right on Maple Drive.” When I turned onto U.S. 129/Highway 28, it became acutely obvious that this wasn’t going to be any ordinary road trip. Tree branches from the earlier storms littered the road. My maximum speed was reduced to 35 miles per hour; 5 mph was more appropriate around the curves. Road shoulders became a distant memory. The only redeeming quality of this road on that morning was nobody else but me was stupid enough to be driving on it given the weather conditions and lack of daylight. In my quest to tame “The Dragon,” I got to the point where 90-degree turns were welcomed; it was the 180-degree offerings that intimidated. This wasn’t a U.S. highway, it was more like a military obstacle course for Humvees. I was expecting the Google lady to at some point start laughing hysterically through my cellphone, followed up with an “I got another one!” In my later research, I would learn that the Tail of the Dragon offers up 318 curves in an 11-mile stretch. Websites describe it is a “must ride” destination for motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world. But before you book your trip, I also would mention that there is an online map that documents extensive fatalities of those who didn’t make it and denotes exactly which curve was their last. As for me, I was just looking to get to the next dairy farm, which I eventually did, albeit with white knuckles. Here’s hoping your road through 2019 is a straight one. •

Write Managing Editor Mike Rankin, 28 Milwaukee Ave., P.O. Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 call: 920-563-5551 or email: mrankin@hayandforage.com

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T:8.375” S:7.875”

© 2018 Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® is a trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. Roundup Ready® is a trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC, used under license by Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology is subject to planting and use restrictions. Visit www.ForageGenetics.com/legal for the full legal, stewardship and trademark statements for these products.


Time is the most precious commodity, so spend it wisely. With the HarvXtra® Alfalfa trait, you have the flexibility to choose between higher quality or a delayed harvest to maximize yield potential. Thanks to a wider cutting window, you can do what you want without your field getting in the way.




by Sam Ingram and Matt Poore


HE most widely planted tall fescue variety today is Kentucky 31 (KY-31), which was released in 1943 by E.N. Fergus. Other events that happened in 1943 include: The U.S. was in the middle of World War II, gas had soared to 15 cents per gallon, and bacon was a luxury at 59 cents per pound. Many things have changed since 1943, but the KY-31 plant remains the same! Amazingly, it dominates the estimated 45 million tall fescue acres in the U.S. despite its profound negative impacts on livestock productivity. There are several new tall fescue varieties available to producers that have agronomic characteristics similar to KY-31, but they do not produce the ergot alkaloids associated with poor animal performance. Despite that, planted acres of these newer “novel endophyte” varieties are still small; some estimate less than 1 million acres total. At North Carolina State University, we did some of the early work with novel endophyte tall fescue. In a five-year grazing study, Jesup MaxQ tall fescue showed similar agronomic characteristics

to toxic endophyte-infected Jesup but supported animal performance similar to the endophyte-free Jesup. We challenged the pastures with strip-grazing in wet weather for five years, and the Jesup MaxQ stands were very resilient despite extensive pugging and short grazing. As a follow up to help with adoption of the technology, we recently started a renovation study that examined the whole production system during the renovation of KY-31 pastures to novel endophyte tall fescue. The goal was to show farmers the entire “picture” and possibly shift attitudes toward renovating old, KY-31 pastures.

A collaborative approach Because we wanted to look at the entire system during the renovation, we built a team consisting of a soil scientist, a forage agronomist, a beef nutritionist, and a livestock economist. The replicated field trial is underway at the Butner Beef Cattle Field Laboratory in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, using well-established KY-31 pastures. We examined three different renovation strategies as compared to leaving the pastures in KY-31.


IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON The first renovation strategy was the common one season “spray-smotherspray-plant” system using a single species of summer annual that was planted in the spring of 2018. The second and third treatments were three-season renovation strategies (spray-smother-spraysmother-spray-smother-spray-plant), which began a year earlier in 2017. One of the three-season treatments consisted of a single species each season (Sorghum-sudangrass - triticale - pearl millet), and the other three-season strategy used a complex cover crop mix (Ray’s Crazy Summer Mix and Ray’s Crazy Winter Mix, which include a variety of grasses, legumes, and brassicas). To initiate the study, hay was cut on the KY-31 pastures in the spring of 2017 SAM INGRAM AND MATT POORE Ingram (pictured) is a research assistant at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in the Department of Animal Science. Poore is an extension beef specialist at NCSU.

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Initial findings Data from the first season of the renovation have been compiled and show that animal performance and agronomic performance of both the cover crop treatments improved compared to the tall fescue. The first season started in late May 2017 with planting of the cover crops and concluded in late September when cattle were removed. The yield for the sorghum-sudangrass cover crop was higher in the beginning of the season, but the complex mixture out-yielded the sorghum-sudangrass near the end of the season. The majority of the late-season yield difference in the complex mixture was because the cowpeas were released late in the season after the cattle grazed off the more dominant grass species (sorghum-sudangrass). The available forage in the tall fescue pastures declined more slowly in comparison to the annuals because the cattle on those pastures simply did not want to


Each experimental pasture was divided into four sub paddocks with shade and water placed in a central location.

eat the grass. In contrast, the animals on the cover crops grazed aggressively and obviously enjoyed the high-quality forage. The animal performance that first summer painted a strong picture, with the tall fescue pastures actually losing slightly in pounds per head per day and pounds of gain per acre, whereas, the cover crop treatments gained roughly 2 pounds per head per day and 150 pounds per acre. The improvement in animal performance makes sense because forage quality was higher in both of the cover crops compared to the tall fescue, and the ergot alkaloids being produced by the endophyte in the tall fescue were causing the cattle to dramatically reduce intake and looked to be suffering from heat stress. Input costs during the first season were lowest for the pastures that remained in tall fescue because of its minimal herbicide cost and lack of seed cost, while the highest input costs were incurred for the single-specie cover crop because of the needed nitrogen input, additional seed, and necessity of chemical burndown. The complex mixture cost was slightly lower than the single-specie cover crop because no nitrogen was added to that treatment. Overall, returns were higher for both cover crops in comparison to tall fescue because the cattle on the tall fescue lost weight during the first season and the economic return from the cattle gains for both cover crop treatments were higher than the inputs. The first season showed that some of the initial renovation costs could be recovered if we are able to graze the cover crop with growing animals. We are excited about the information


during the boot stage, and then after two weeks of recovery they were sprayed with glyphosate. The annual forages were then drilled in 7-inch rows and growth was allowed to accumulate until grazing began. Pastures were divided into four sections, and all cattle had access to the same type of shade, water, and mineral throughout the study. All treatments, including the pastures that remained in KY-31, were rotationally grazed (weekly moves) with growing steers, and gain per head and gain per acre were determined. Cover crops were grazed such that there was enough residual forage to suppress weed pressure and smother KY-31 plants that escaped the chemical burndown. Forage samples were taken throughout the renovation for all treatments to estimate forage availability, forage quality, and species composition. Input costs for each treatment were tracked and any potential revenue from cattle weight gains was also documented to calculate a net return for each renovation strategy. Baseline soil health measurements were taken just prior to the start of the renovation in 2017 and were taken again directly following planting of the novel endophyte tall fescue in all the renovation treatments this past fall. We plan to examine changes, if any, to soil health during the renovation to provide a better understanding of what is going on below the soil surface, especially in regards to potential benefits of the mixed species cover crop.

A yearling steer on the control treatment suffering from fescue toxicosis.

from the first season and look forward to reporting the full results of the study.

Information outreach As part of the Amazing Grazing Program, our group is focused on helping farmers better manage their forage systems, and results of this study will help with that effort. While producers can do a lot to mitigate the effects of fescue toxicosis, oftentimes the best decision is to renovate at least a portion of their KY-31 pastures to novel endophyte tall fescue. We recently joined the Alliance for Grassland Renewal as part of our tall fescue educational strategy. This group, consisting of academic institutions, seed companies, nonprofits, and allied industry, conducts one-day workshops that teach producers how to effectively eradicate toxic tall fescue and properly manage newly established novel endophyte tall fescue. Six workshops are scheduled in March across the Fescue Belt. They will be held in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, and Kentucky. Specific information about the Alliance for Grassland Renewal and specific workshop dates and locations can be found at http://grasslandrenewal.org/education.htm. • January 2019 | hayandforage.com | 7

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by Luiz Ferraretto

Low-lignin forages in dairy diets


ESIDES providing energy for maintenance and lactation, forages stimulate chewing and salivation, rumination, gut motility and health, regulate feed consumption, and are the structural basis of the ruminal mat, which is crucial for ruminal digestion. Although commonly used forages such as corn and sorghum silage contain good levels of starch, fiber is the most common carbohydrate in forages. Greater digestibility of forage fiber is desired for productivity, profitability, and environmental reasons. Low digestibility promotes rumen fill, limiting consumption and milk production. Although many factors affect fiber digestibility of forages, the focus of this article is to provide an overview of the benefits of feeding low-lignin forages. Lignin is the key obstacle to fiber digestion as it obstructs the enzyme access to the digestible fiber fractions, cellulose and hemicellulose. In addition, rumen microorganisms cannot breakdown lignin. Due to its importance to animal performance, this association between lignin and other fibrous fractions such as cellulose and hemicellulose is considered in many diet formulation models. This undigested or indigestible neutral detergent fiber (NDF) fraction is estimated using either lignin or quantified as the proportion of NDF remaining after in vitro or in situ ruminal incubations (for example, 240-hour undigested NDF [uNDF240]). Thus, the reduction of lignin or indigestible NDF fractions

in forages improves fiber digestibility. The genetic control of the lignification process or selection for naturally occurring mutations are viable approaches to obtain forages of greater fiber digestibility. Brown midrib (BMR) mutant forages (for example, corn and sorghum) have lower lignin concentrations than conventional forages. Overall, research literature suggests greater milk production when BMR forages are fed to dairy cows.

BMR makes milk Highlights from a corn silage hybrids review from the University of Wisconsin are in Table 1. Brown midrib corn hybrids had 0.9 percentage units lower lignin concentration and 11.4 percentage units greater ruminal in vitro NDF digestibility (percent of NDF); this trans-

lated into greater total tract fiber digestibility (percent of NDF). Cows fed BMR corn hybrids consumed 2 pounds per day more dry matter (DM) and improved milk yield by 3.3 pounds per day. Improvements in performance are associated with reduced gut fill and greater passage rate. This concept may be of particular interest when cows are in early lactation and feed intake is limited. A study conducted by researchers from Cornell University evaluated the effects of feeding BMR corn silage from 14 days before to 21 days after calving. Cows fed BMR corn silage had 2.4 and 4.4 pounds per day greater DM consumption before and after calving, respectively, and 7.1 pounds per day greater milk production than cows fed conventional corn hybrids. Similar to corn, BMR sorghum has reduced lignin concentration and greater fiber digestibility compared to conventional sorghum. A meta-analytic review presented during the American Dairy Science Association national meeting last year showed that cows fed BMR sorghum silage had greater intake (plus 1.8 pounds per day), milk production (plus 3.6 pounds per day), and milkfat concentration (plus 0.09 percentage units) than cows fed conventional sorghum. Researchers from the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center that conducted this study also reported that compared with conventional corn silage, cows fed BMR sorghum had greater milkfat (plus 0.1 percentage units) but lower milk protein (minus 0.06 percentage units) concentrations. No differences in intake and milk yield were observed. Nevertheless, it is important to account for the potentially lower yields of BMR hybrids than conventional hybrids when deciding which hybrid to grow. Such

Table 1. Effect of BMR corn silage in dairy cattle diets Item



Lignin, % of DM



Ruminal in vitro NDF digestibility, % of NDF



Starch, % of DM



Dry matter intake, lb/d



Milk yield, lb/d



Milkfat, %



MUN, mg/dL



Total tract NDF difestibility, % of NDF



Total tract starch digestibility, % of starch



Adapted from Ferraretto and Shaver (2015). 1 Control included conventional, dual-purpose, and isogenic counterpart corn hybrids. 2 Difference is brown midrib minus control silage.

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lower yields may be outweighed by the improved animal performance from BMR hybrids, but the magnitude of these responses may vary from farm to farm. Furthermore, lodging could be a problem for some BMR sorghum hybrids, particularly when sown at high seeding rates. However, based on data from the University of Florida sorghum performance trials, several BMR hybrids are not susceptible to lodging. An example highlighting the spring planting of 2018 is in Table 2. It is also relevant to note that yield and nutritive value of hybrids varies from year to year and in different regions. Therefore, going through hybrids performance trial results near your farm and across several years is a must before selecting a new hybrid.

Table 2. Effect of BMR sorghum on yield, fiber digestibility, and lodging Item



Yield, DM tons/acre



Ruminal in vitro NDF digestibility, % of NDF



uNDF 240 h, % of DM



Lodging score1



Adapted from University of Floride Forage Sorghum Variety Trials (Spring 2018). 1 Lodging scale from 1 to 10 where score 1 is 0 to 10 percent and score 10 is 91 to 100 percent of plants affected.

Reduced-lignin alfalfa The use of reduced-lignin alfalfa garnered much interest by dairy producers and nutritionists. Several comparisons in the literature highlight lower lignin and greater ruminal in vitro NDF digestibility (plus 8 percentage units) for transgenic alfalfa lines with reduced-lignin concentration compared to control lines and for its isogenic counterparts. Although preliminary feeding trials with young lambs were very promising (reports of greater intake and digestibility), improvement in performance by dairy cows is not available in the literature, to our knowledge. The development of reduced-lignin varieties is of great interest to the dairy industry. As discussed for BMR hybrids, it is important to account for potential variations in yields when selecting between reduced-lignin alfalfa and conventional varieties. Greater fiber digestibility improves DM intake, resting time, and milk production by dairy cows. Consider feeding reduced-lignin forages, particularly BMR hybrids, to high-producing cows and to cows in early lactation while feeding less digestible conventional hybrids to cows in mid- to late lactation. •

Rainbow. Full Spectrum Plant Nutrition. Your crops need a full spectrum of plant nutrients to produce the best yields. A deficiency of only one nutrient could limit yields and reduce the quality of your crop. Rainbow Plant Food contains precise amounts of essential nutrients, chemically compounded in a homogenous granule. Your crops can quickly access the nutrients in Rainbow fertilizers, promoting hearty, healthy growth. When high yields and quality are critical, count on Rainbow Fertilizer to produce the best crops possible. Find out more at RainbowPlantFoodProducts.com.

LUIZ FERRARETTO The author is an assistant professor of livestock nutrition in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Florida.

Š2018 NUTRIEN Ltd.; Rainbow, NUTRIEN logos and designs are registered trademarks owned by NUTRIEN Ltd. | 12/18-63417



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It’s the equivalent of



XPERIENCING the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance’s (NAFA) Alfalfa Intensive Training Seminar (AITS) is like “drinking out of a fire hose; there is a lot of information in a short period of time,” said Emily Meccage, Montana State University Extension forage specialist. Seven years ago, as a forage research graduate student, Meccage eagerly absorbed the in-depth AITS training on all aspects of growing, managing, harvesting, and feeding alfalfa. This past November, she attended the two-day seminar on the other side of the podium — as an instructor. “I can’t stress enough the value of this training for consultants, whether you’re in seed sales or an agronomist or a graduate student in agronomy,” Meccage said. “It’s fairly inexpensive, plus you have access to instructors . . . to ask questions and get a good grasp of the basics of alfalfa production,” she added. Individual sessions within the training cover genetics; pest management; soils, fertility and manure management; seed and seed production; cutting management; hay and silage preservation; and other topics. AITS’ initial objective was to give seed dealers a background in alfalfa that seed companies felt was lacking, remembered Dan Undersander, University of Wisconsin Extension emeritus forage specialist. “Now, attendees also include farm machinery sales people, large-operation farmers, nutritionists, and people from other disciplines, like plant breeding,” he said.

Long history In 1993, Undersander and three other state extension forage specialists at the time — Garry Lacefield, University of Kentucky; Neal Martin, University of Minnesota; and Marvin Hall, Pennsylvania State University — launched the first seminar. These core teachers brought a solidity

to the seminar. “We tried to have a consistency of program, but at the same time, continually update topics to be consistent with current knowledge,” Undersander added. It’s still held once a year in different locations, rotating between the West, Midwest, and Northeast. Local instructors are also brought in. “The seminar helps make sure we’re all singing from the same hymnal,” said Dennis Hancock, University of Georgia Extension forage specialist and a current instructor. “Different parts of the country will always have some differences in forage recommendations, but the course helps standardize what can be standardized.” It also allows the experts to update university recommendations or clear up misconceptions. AITS is invaluable to the forage industry, Hancock stressed. “A lot of companies report they are hiring folks with limited agronomic experiences, and they need to be brought up to speed. I try to teach my sessions to the level of graduate students. That usually includes 60 percent review material, 30 percent new information, and another 10 percent that’s challenging and stretches their boundaries. With this course, more like 30 percent is challenging.”

Take-home materials “AITS instructors provide a large volume of alfalfa information, including whole chapters on various topics. NAFA compiles the material into the AITS Training Manual,” explained NAFA President Beth Nelson. “This year we worked to provide information in a consistent form to help attendees absorb and reference it easier.” “It’s one of the best parts of this training,” said Meccage of the AITS manual. The one she took home years ago has been used “multiple times when developing Extension training tools. It allows me to have a foundation of resources,” she explained. “I wanted to refresh my foundation in alfalfa,” said Mark Hockel, who attended last fall’s AITS held in St. Paul, Minn. An agronomist and partner in

Riverview LLP, based in Morris, Minn., Hockel manages forage production for its dairy and beef. That includes 20,000 acres of alfalfa grown by the partnership or cooperating growers.

From classroom to farm Last November’s training session exposed Hockel to University of California research results that can help Riverview economically grow alfalfa and use it in rations fed to dairy heifers in a southwestern U.S. expansion. He also learned from AITS Instructor and Michigan State University Forage Specialist, Kim Cassida, of Michigan research showing alfalfa added to grazing mixtures can improve beef cattle rate of gain. Hockel passed that tidbit to Riverview’s beef cattle managers in Nebraska. “They said they were waiting for that kind of information,” the agronomist noted. Hockel enjoyed the diversity of topics that provided a broader grasp of alfalfa, which comes from pulling instructors from different parts of the U.S. “The $499 registration fee was worth the cost,” Hockel said. “A huge part of this is getting to know speakers, so when we do have a problem we have a resource to contact, especially when it’s an independent resource such as a university person.” Hancock agreed, “It’s not uncommon for past participants to contact me with questions about their own operation or that of a client.” Typically, 35 to 40 people take the training each year. “The course sells out most years,” Nelson said. “NAFA continues to host the training as there are always new people moving into the industry wanting to enhance their alfalfa knowledge.” • FAE HOLIN The author is the communication specialist for the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance.

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by Jesse Bussard

Ranching school goes east, changes hands


N FEBRUARY, Ranch Management Consultants (RMC) will host a Ranching for Profit (RFP) School in Burlington, Vt. Happening February 3 to 9, 2019, this will be the first time the seven-day premier business school for livestock producers will be held on the East Coast. RMC and its RFP School curriculum were founded by Stan Parsons in 1980. Current owner Dave Pratt came into the picture in 1999 and took over ownership of the firm in 2001. In total, RMC has hosted nearly 240 Ranching for Profit Schools across the United States and Canada since its inception. In addition, the organization has sister companies in Africa and Australia that also host schools. Pratt said his organization was asked by a coalition of graziers, university personnel, and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) employees to bring the school to the Northeast in 2018. After some time spent researching the market interest, it was decided to move forward with hosting a school in Vermont. “It’s going to be a different vibe there,” noted Pratt about the differences in the types of students he may encounter in comparison to the typical Western ranchers he advises. “They will be smaller scale operations, and we will probably have a lot younger and more first generation folks. However, the same principles we teach are going to apply,” he added.

A strong history Pratt estimated he and his colleagues teach anywhere from 200 to 250 students annually with around one-sixth of those being repeat attendees. Altogether, he said there are approximately 5,000 graduates of the RFP program in North America alone. The core curriculum and principles RFP was founded on are applicable to any type of agricultural situation, Pratt explained. In the school, he said students can expect to learn the following: • Strategies to improve the financial

health of their ranch • Ways to implement tools and systems to improve management and relationships • Methods to enhance the health and productivity of their natural resources • How to draft an effective succession plan to ensure their operation will thrive for generations to come “About three-quarters of the school is a set curriculum, and then the last quarter is based on the questions and the direction the group wants to take things,” said Pratt. “I think we’ll have to take some time to adapt some of the things for different enterprise situations like hogs, pastured poultry, and enterprises like that. But, the issues that we deal with are the issues that make or break all businesses, and everything else is just details.” For those on the fence about whether to attend an RFP School, Pratt said he has many alumni from the program in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. These individuals have given testimonials about their experience in the school and are available to talk with potential students.

New ownership Along with bringing RFP to the Northeast, Pratt said RMC will also be hosting a Ranching for Profit Conference in Sheridan, Wyo., in early August. Held every three years, the theme for the 2019 meeting will be “Creating a succession plan that works for everyone.” According to Pratt, this generational theme is particularly poignant for RMC because he and his wife, Kathy, will be transitioning ownership and management of the company to RFP instructor Dallas Mount and his wife, Dixie, shortly after the 2019 conference. In addition to teaching RFP schools, Mount serves as a Rangeland Specialist for the University of Wyoming Extension in Platte County. “I know he’s going to make some changes, but those changes are just going to enrich the soul of the

company,” said Pratt about Mount’s upcoming takeover. “It may end up looking different in lots of different ways, but the heart and soul of RMC is going to be in good hands for the next 20 years.” Mount said he didn’t have to think very long when Pratt asked him about taking on ownership of RMC. In his time with RFP, Mount has had the opportunity to work with some of the best ranchers in North America. It’s a different atmosphere than most ranch gatherings, he noted. Instead of complaining about the weather, markets, and the government, RFP Schools are places of optimism and discussion of strategies to move forward. “There is no other organization making a difference to ranchers on the scale of RMC,” said Mount. “I’m excited about the opportunity to lead RMC into its next few decades.” Mount’s vision for RMC going forward is to continue to have RFP be the go-to place for ranchers looking to improve their ranches and their lives. He plans to continue the work that Pratt started, developing products and systems that assist graduates in implementing their learnings from the RFP program. In addition, Mount plans to bring new ideas into the fold. In 2017, he spent three months with RMC’s sister company in Australia, Resource Consulting Service (RCS). “RCS has some effective processes for helping ranchers implement the economic analyses tools they are taught at the school and a robust benchmarking dataset to identify areas of strength and weakness,” said Mount. “I hope to develop something similar at RMC over time that would integrate with the other systems ranchers are already using.” • Learn about RMC and the Ranching for Profit School at www.ranchmanagement.com.

JESSE BUSSARD The author is a freelance writer from Bozeman, Mont., and has her own communications business, Cowpunch Creative.

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by Jordan Milewski


ORAGE that was once judged by appearance and smell can now be quantified by numbers. The current laundry list of forage quality metrics not only helps us to define and explain forage value, but it also leads us to more informed harvest and feeding decisions. Modern laboratory methods allow us to put numbers to what was once subjective, providing a measuring stick that can be used to quantify continuous improvement. There is never any higher forage quality than when a crop is standing. Once cut, the challenge for haymakers is preserving the quality they have. With that in mind, here are a few fieldproven cutting tips to help you produce the highest forage quality possible.

Minimize ash content Forage ash content influences quality. Ash encompasses the minerals of the plant, both internal and external. Some (calcium and magnesium, for example) may be beneficial, while others associated with soils (silica) are detrimental. Good or bad, both internal and external sources contribute to total ash content. When it comes to influencing quality, limiting external ash is essential. When haymakers talk about productivity, the mantra is almost always faster. Greater speed is a logical way to harvest more acres per hour, and it’s also a basic point of comparison between sickle and disc cutting. Disc cutting offers the clear advantage here, and the rhythmic sickle sound continues to fall silent in fields across the country.

But with disc cutting speed comes rotating discs that create strong air movements. The tendency to cut alfalfa low for maximum yield means strong air movement near to the ground where dust is easily kicked up, raising detrimental forage ash levels. This may be aggravated by a steep knife twist that can lift light soil particles. To minimize ash content, consider these three rules: Raise the cutting height. The trade-off in cutting height is harvested yield. Low cutting boosts the tons per acre harvested. On the other hand, cutting higher can improve quality by lowering ash content. Some recent studies have also suggested that cutting higher drives quality by leaving more of the fibrous, less-digestible stems behind. Dan Undersander, retired extension agronomist with the University of Wisconsin, also recommends higher cutting because the resulting crop stubble may hold the mown crop up and away from the soil. This reduces ash content while helping to speed up drying. In light crops, slow the disc speed. Not every cut is like the first crop. Heavy crops may demand full disc speed. However, in lighter, late-season crops,

Keep swaths wide The greatest quality risk faced by producers is also the most difficult to control — weather. The best way to maintain quality is getting the crop off before unfavorable weather occurs. An understanding of the crop drying phases may help producers appreciate why proper conditioning is so important. Leaf pores, known as stoma, allow gas and moisture to exchange with the air. In the early phases of forage dry down, moisture rapidly escapes through the stomatal openings; mechanical forage conditioning will have little initial benefit immediately after cutting. During the early drying phases, exposure to sunlight will stimulate stomata to remain open. Wide swaths expose more stomata to sunlight; this not only speeds drying, but also results in plants retaining a higher concentration of plant sugars for improved forage quality. Field trials in Wisconsin showed wide swaths dried significantly faster (see graph) and relative forage quality (RFQ) was 11 points higher

Mike Rankin

Preserve quality with your mower

extremely dry conditions, or where new stands are not well established, high disc speeds may be a disadvantage. Excessive air movement may produce an unfavorable cut quality. It can also kick-up dirt and dust, which deposits on the mown crop, raising the ash content. Choose a shallow-angle knife. Knife designs vary across the industry from flat to 18-degree twist knives. With all of the knife choices available today, it can be a bit confusing. A basic rule is that a shallower angle knife produces less suction. That means less soil disturbance and a lower forage ash content, especially when conditions are dry and the soil is easily disturbed. These days, choosing an alternative knife is faster and easier thanks to the advent of quick-change knife technology offered on many of the new disc mowers.

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Lost leaves are lost quality If your mother was anything like mine, then you’ve heard the expression, “Too much of a good thing isn’t good for you.” That’s especially true when it comes to forage conditioning. There’s a line between proper conditioning and over conditioning. Let’s look at the basic systems. Flail-tine and impellor systems: For a grass hay producer, these systems are effective tools that strip away the waxy cuticle layer. While it is possible to make alfalfa hay with an impellor or a flail-tine system, many studies have shown field losses are considerably higher than roll-type systems. When harvesting alfalfa for haylage with a flail-tine system, it’s imperative to slow the rotor speed and raise the conditioning hood clearance. This reduces conditioning intensity and conserves leaves. However, it will slow crop drying

Percent moisture

Mike Rankin

80 70 60

Overnight hours

Overnight hours


in the later drying phases, which can be counterproductive when making dry hay. Roll systems: These systems offer producers the flexibility to effectively condition grass, alfalfa, and even more difficult cane crops. Roll conditioning systems, both rubber and steel, have a few basic adjustments that can impact drying time and forage quality. 1. Roll gap — The vertical clearance between the rollers. 2. Roll timing — The horizontal clearance between the roll lugs. 3. Roll pressure — The resistance to separation or the pressure applied. Rubber or steel, roll gap may be the most important adjustment of a roll conditioner. If the clearance is too great, the crop may pass through without being conditioned. If it’s too narrow, thickstemmed crops may not pass through. Adjusting the clearance is essential to effective conditioning and machine performance. This will help to ensure stem crimping and crushing and fast crop drying, while still preserving leaves. Roll timing is the most often overlooked factor and is only slightly less important than gap. If you’ve ever adjusted gear lash then you know the importance of getting it right. Ensuring the lugs and the valleys are centered relative to each other and maintaining equal clearance is critical. If the lugs are too close (or, worse, if they are touching) field losses will mount as crop stems become overconditioned and leaves detach. Beyond forage quality, improper timing will raise the machine load and fuel consumption, causing premature roll wear.

Wide swath Narrow swath

50 40 30 20 10










Source: University of Wisconsin-Extension, Arlington, Wis., July 30 and 31, 2007

for the wide swaths compared to the narrow swaths. The real benefit of mechanical conditioning comes after the initial drying phase when reduced plant moisture shuts down physiological processes and prevents stomatal opening. Plants, by their nature, are designed to keep moisture inside. Without conditioning, moisture essentially becomes trapped. Mechanical conditioning creates artificial openings by cracking and crimping stems or by scraping the waxy cuticle layer to free trapped moisture. Generally speaking, forage conditioners are a beneficial option unless all the hay being harvested is done at high-moisture levels.

When harvesting alfalfa, roll conditioners (above) are the system of choice over flail conditioners (below).

Roll pressure, or tension, is the go-to first adjustment for most producers. Often, it’s the easiest conditioning adjustment to make on a mower-conditioner. Before adjusting pressure, however, first consider exactly what that element of the system does. Roll pressure is explained as the resistance to the rolls opening or separating as the crop mat passes between and pushes them apart. In general, a light crop means there isn’t much need to squeeze, so back the setting down. The opposite is true in heavy crops. When there is a thick crop mat, a higher setting can speed drying. There are many factors that impact forage quality, some more easily controlled than others. Choosing the proper machine type and ensuring it is properly adjusted are controllable factors that potentially can have a significant impact on forage quality. • JORDAN MILEWSKI The author is the crop preparation marketing manager for New Holland Agriculture.

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by Adam Verner

out to pasture” and retired. These days, the first operators are putting more bales on them before they decide to trade; this is mostly because they are covering more acres.

Mike Rankin

Used baler math

Technology is changing the round baler market S THE cold weather sets in and daylight hours shorten, this usually allows us to spend more time with our families; it also provides opportunity to ponder potential improvements for our haymaking operation. For some, it may be time for a baling tractor upgrade while others may feel the need to change their rake size or type. As farmers, it’s just our nature to get “bigger and better.” We don’t want to buy every acre of ground . . . just every acre that touches the ones we already own! This same philosophy to get bigger and better can be seen in the evolution of baling hay. We’ve progressed from making piles in the field with pitchforks to small square bales, then to round bales, and now to large square bales. Each inventor was looking for a way to cover more acres and harvest more tons in a day.

New baler tech This is also the case for today’s major advancements in the round-baler market. We now have several manufacturers producing balers that don’t need to stop for tying or wrapping. Further, one manufacturer also has a self-propelled round baler in preproduction. These manufacturers are all pushing the limit when it comes to innovation in what most considered an old and

somewhat stagnant market. Usually it’s been tractors, sprayers, or other harvesting segments that have inspired the most innovation, but these nonstop and self-propelled round balers are right there with some of the other new machine technologies. The tonnage that one of these new balers can push through is impressive and has had farmers talking in the coffee shop for some time now. Also impressive, though maybe not desirable, is the price tag that comes with each of these balers. Even so, there are farmers who can’t wait to get their hands on one of these machines. But will being one of the first owners be a good thing? Maybe, but there are some considerations to think about. The price on the “nonstop” balers and wrapper combos are estimated to be over $130,000 dollars. Since no models are currently for sale from dealers in the U.S., that price is mere speculation. Likewise, the retail price for the self-propelled unit has not been made available at this time either. I think these new innovations in round balers could really change things in the future. There will be an initial first flush of sales, but what concerns me are the second and third owners of these machines. In the past, most round balers have two or three different owners before they are “put

The first owner usually takes most of the depreciation and, if a baler is traded-in having already made 15,000 bales, it can still have some useful life for its next owner. But if we are considering $150,000 or more for a new machine, and a used baler is usually 50 to 60 percent of the original cost, the baler with 15,000 bales is likely going to cost the second owner around $75,000. I know we get excited about these new improvements to our industry, but as a customer and dealer myself, I’m just not sure how many farmers are going to be willing to invest that much cash in a used baler. With that being said, it is inevitable that some of these balers will be sold and then be traded back in, but unless the manufacturers have figured out a way for these balers to last 50,000 bales, I’m not sure we can expense out $75,000 in depreciation on only 15,000 bales. That’s a cost of $5 per bale just to own the baler — without tractor, net wrap, fuel, or labor included. Over the past decade, the general calculation was $1 per bale depreciation, but in the last five years, it’s risen to about $1.50 . . . still a long way from $5. I think these new balers are great innovations to the hay and forage business, but in my opinion, one of the biggest hold ups in the round baler market isn’t the speed or acreage you can cover, but how long a baler will last before needing major work. I don’t see any reason why we can’t design a baler to last 40,000 bales before needing major work. This would help lower the cost of ownership associated with these high-tech balers of the future. Stay warm this winter. • ADAM VERNER The author is a managing partner in Elite Ag LLC, Leesburg, Ga. He also is active in the family farm in Rutledge.

14 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2019

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Typically, Lytle and his family put up just over 7,000 bales of both dryland and irrigated alfalfa. This past season, the lowest hay RFV tested was 165 with a top end of 259; the lowest protein tested was 20 percent, peaking at 26 percent after the first cutting. Lytle attributes these numbers to advancements in the products and equipment available to today’s hay producers.

Bryant Henningfeld

Start with the soil

They widened the baling window by Laura Handke


ORTY-TWO miles east of Rapid City, in Pennington County South Dakota, the Lytle family is making their mark on the hay industry. They are harvesting their 1,000 acres of dryland and irrigated alfalfa to produce Supreme dairy-quality alfalfa for a single customer. The ranch, which the Lytle’s have owned since 1974, is home to a purebred herd of Red Angus cattle and has been in the hay business nearly as long as they have owned their operation. Seeing the value and opportunities added through the installation of irrigation, Rusty Lytle’s father, Joe, planted the operation’s first crop of irrigated alfalfa in 1978. In that same year, the senior Lytle also built relationships with four local dairies to sell cut and windrowed hay. The family, which currently includes Rusty’s wife, Angela, and three sons, Zeb, Clancy, and Cale, has produced alfalfa every year since that initial field was seeded. They have seen changes and new technologies shape the industry along the way.

“They [the dairies] would bale and haul it off the field; they would run each load across the scale and pay based on weight,” Lytle said. “Now there is hardly a dairy left in western South Dakota.”

Marketing quality These days, an eastern South Dakota dairy serves as Lytle’s sole customer, taking every ton of hay the operation can produce. Dairies throughout South Dakota struggle to find dairy-quality hay. The arid climate makes for short windows of opportunity to meet Supreme quality standards, windows many producers cannot afford to operate within. “For the last seven years, one dairy has bought everything we put up; I work with them to provide a specific RFV (relative feed value), and their milk production has gone through the roof,” Lytle said. The technology and innovations within the hay industry over the last two decades have been a game-changer in terms of promising and delivering those crucial components of dairy-quality hay — a protein and energy-rich feedstuff that allows dairy producers to pay premiums and, in turn, see their investment translate to additional pounds of milk.

As a long-time forage producer, Lytle knows the importance of testing soil and plant tissue in the production of dairy-quality hay. With a baseline set, he is able to monitor improvements for both plant and soil health. Discussing the importance of plant and soil health, Lytle shared, “We have one pivot of alfalfa that’s nine years old and still has a plant population of 38 to 52 stems per square foot. We are cutting it three to four times every year and it’s still producing; it averaged 4.75 tons to the acre this year. We put a lot of stock in [seed] varieties, management, and soil microbial activity.”

A tight baling window Lytle attributes much of the quality gain their operation has seen to the products and equipment advancements that have allowed for faster and more efficient processing from swathing through baling. “We usually operate in a 24 to 36-hour window from start to finish, and that window can really be a challenge to meet,” Lytle noted. To maximize the time between freshcut hay that is too wet to windrow and bale and low-moisture hay that is too brittle to retain its leaves, Lytle uses technologies that allow for baling in less than optimal moisture ranges. The Circle C conditioner on the

LAURA HANDKE The author is a freelance writer based in Atchison, Kan.

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Lytle’s hay operation is a family affair. From left: Zeb, Clancy, Kale, Rusty, and Angela.

swather crushes the entire length of the alfalfa stem, which reduces drying time. Lytle also uses propionic acid; this acts as a mold mitigation tool, allowing the crew to bale sooner in the curing process at somewhat higher moisture concentrations. The acid helps to ensure that when higher-moisture hay is baled, that between 18 and 22 percent, Supreme quality can still be attained.

than having to shut down when the natural dew dries off. When temperatures reach 100°F and above, Lytle shared that Zeb applies more hot moisture, and the baler keeps rolling. Although quality integrity was an initial concern, hay tested in those fields with the highest hot mist application still were in the high 170-plus RFV range. Submitted “This process has allowed us to put up large quantities of high-quality dairy hay; not only put it up, but we can put it up on our own schedule, without baling through the night,” Lytle said. “It is a lot less effort, and we put up a lot more hay.” Their best day: 360 acres of Supreme dairy-quality hay, using two balers, on a schedule that the family determined, not Mother Nature. •

A “dew” addition During the 2018 season, Lytle implemented a new technology, which he says has added quality both to his family life and to the hay they produce. Having experimented with adding water to windrows previously, Lytle was not a newcomer to the concept of extending the window of baling time by applying moisture. His son, Zeb, who holds a chemical engineering degree, was also a proponent of the process and jumped at the chance to operate the Harvest Tec Model 720 Dew Simulator the operation added to their equipment lineup this past harvest season. “In our area, drying time is really fast,” Lytle noted. “Over the years, I have experimented with a sprayer; last summer we did a lot of that. I have been doing that [cold water application] for several years, but the hot mist created by this new implement really makes it work well,” he said. Water is supplied by a 1,000-gallon tanker pulled behind the dew simulator to produce a hot mist. The initial heating of the water takes less than three minutes, making the startup relatively quick. Once an operator determines where the moisture is needed in the windrow — top, bottom, middle, or throughout — trips can be set on the reel. “The placement of the hot mist is an ongoing adjustment throughout the day, but it is easy to set and adjust, so it isn’t hard to do,” Lytle said. “The program they [Harvest Tec] use in their software box lets me put in my width and I have to guess my yield, which gives me a baseline for how much of the hot moisture to apply. Once we get started, we just watch the moisture monitor on the baler, and if it’s too much, we turn it down or if too little, we turn it up.” The process has allowed the operation to bale all day, rather January 2019 | hayandforage.com | 17

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Experiment 2 included 47 bales of the same size made from meadow fescue, tall fescue, or orchardgrass. All bales were made with a New Holland Roll-Belt 450 round baler equipped with 15 cutting knives spaced about 3.2 inches apart; the cutting system could be engaged or disengaged remotely from the cab of the tractor. During both studies, the baler operator maintained a 5.5-miles per hour ground speed while baling.

Slight density effects

Precutting bales didn’t impact fermentation by Wayne Coblentz and Matt Akins


HE use of baled silage techniques for forage preservation has expanded significantly during the last decade and is especially popular with small or midsized dairy and beef producers. Many of these producers are familiar with good silage management techniques through previous experiences with precision-chopped silages. One key difference between baled and chopped silages is that fermentation within baled silages is inherently restricted compared to precision-chopped silages. This occurs for several reasons, which include: 1. typical moisture recommendations for baled silages (45 to 55 percent) are much drier than those for chopped silages (less than 70 percent); 2. baled silages are usually less dense than well-packed chopped silages; and 3. baled silages are often produced in long-stem form, which may restrict the access of fermentable sugars located inside the plant to lactic-acid-producing bacteria adhered to the plant surface.

Cutting systems within many balers are used primarily to facilitate blending of diets within TMR (total mixed ration) mixers, or to ease removal of baled silages from ring-type feeders by livestock. However, they also offer the theoretical potential to improve silage fermentation by increasing bale density and by facilitating the release of sugars through the cutting action within the baler. A few previous studies have evaluated these concepts, but the demonstration of clear, consistent effects on baled silage fermentation have been elusive. Recently, we decided to further investigate the potential for improved fermentation in baled silages by engagement of cutting mechanisms within the baler. Two studies were conducted at the University of Wisconsin Marshfield Agricultural Research Station. The first study (Experiment 1) included 31 round bales (4 by 4-foot) comprised of an alfalfa-orchardgrass mixture (57 percent alfalfa). Bales were made between approximately 40 and 70 percent moisture, which exceeds the normally recommended range for round-bale silages (45 to 55 percent moisture).

Generally, previous studies have reported a somewhat consistent and positive relationship between particle-length reduction and bale density. However, this effect has usually been relatively modest in scope. In Experiment 1, wet bale weights were increased by 4.3 percent (60 pounds per bale) by engaging the cutting mechanism, which was statistically significant (see Figure 1). After correcting for moisture, dry bale weights improved by 3.2 percent (20 pounds of dry matter [DM] per bale), and DM density by only 2.1 percent (0.3 pounds DM per cubic foot) (see Figure 2). Cutting effects on dry bale weights and DM density were not statistically significant. Figures 1 and 2 illustrate some of the complexity in isolating the specific effects of cutting on bale density and subsequently on silage fermentation. In this experiment, initial bale moisture had a far greater effect on bale density than cutting. In contrast to the rather meager density gains associated with cutting, DM density went up 45.4 percent by reducing initial bale moisture from 68 to 46 percent (9.4 compared to 13.6 pounds DM per cubic foot). Although wetter bales were heavier because of the additional water, they also contained less actual forage DM. There also are a number of other factors that can affect DM density of silage bales and mask potentially positive

WAYNE COBLENTZ AND MATT AKINS Coblentz (pictured) is a USDA-ARS research scientist with the USDA Dairy Forage Research Center in Marshfield, Wis. Akins is an extension dairy scientist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Figure 1: Effects of initial moisture and cutter engagement on weights of alfalfa-orchardgrass bales (Experiment 1)

Bale weight, lbs.

effects of cutting; these include: • Uneven ground requiring adjustment of ground speed • Forage yield • Variability of forage yield within the field • Raking or merging prior to baling • A ny other factor that affects the time required to produce a bale Generally, DM density is increased with more revolutions of the bale within the bale chamber prior to tying and ejection. For Experiment 1, bales produced within initial moisture groupings of 46, 51, and 62 percent achieved DM densities of 13.6, 12.8, and 11.1 pounds of DM per cubic foot, all of which exceeded the often-recommended target density of 10 pounds of DM per cubic foot for good baled silage. Only very wet (68 percent moisture) bales exhibited DM densities (9.4 pounds of DM per cubic foot) less than the recommended target threshold under the conditions described for this experiment.

1,600 1,400 1,200 1,000 800 600 400 200

Wet Weight




Dry Weight




Bale moisture (%) or cutter engagement

Moisture drives fermentation

Exclude air The inherently restricted nature of fermentation within baled silages requires additional emphasis be placed on exclusion of air for preservation of this unique silage type. Excellent preservation of forages can be achieved, even with dry silages (less than 40 percent moisture) producing minimal fermentation acids, by promptly applying adequate plastic (at least six layers), and inspecting and maintaining the ensiled product until feeding. While there may be a number of practical or logistical reasons for particle-length reduction, these results do not suggest that cutter engagement can be justified solely on the basis of improved fermentation. •

Bale DM density, lbs./ft


Figure 2: Effects of initial moisture and cutter engagement on DM density of alfalfa-orchardgrass bales (Experiment 1)

14 12 10 8 6 4







Bale moisture (%) or cutter engagement

Figure 3: Effects of initial moisture and cutter engagement on final alfalfa-orchardgrass bale silage pH (Experiment 1)

6.4 Final silage pH

Figure 3 illustrates the effects of initial bale moisture and particle-length reduction on the final silage pH for bales produced in Experiment 1. It was obvious that silage fermentation is primarily driven by initial bale moisture, as shown by an increasingly lower (more acidic) final pH as bales became wetter, regardless of cutter engagement. For Experiment 1 (Figure 3), this was further documented by greater production of lactic and total fermentation acids, as well as lower concentrations of residual sugars, all of which indicate a more aggressive fermentation in wetter bales. Generally, these relationships are quite strong, but they also can be confounded at very low initial bale moistures, when little production of any fermentation acid occurs. In addition, the relationship between final silage pH and initial bale moisture potentially can be confounded for very wet bales, in which undesirable fermentation products, such as butyric acid, may accumulate. For both experiments, the relationships between final pH and bale moisture were statistically distinct for cut and uncut bales. Unfortunately, the advantages of cutter engagement were very modest, generally ranging from 0 to 0.16 pH units across the two experiments. While this response indicates an improved fermentation in response to cutter engagement, it is questionable whether the moderate nature of this response justifies particle-length reduction solely on the basis of fermentation improvement.




6.0 5.8 5.6 5.4 5.2 40








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Consider these factors when buying a round baler by Dan Undersander


OUND balers tend to be more economical than medium to large square balers for both beef and dairy mid-sized farms. Further, round bales can be stored uncovered outside with less weather damage (if kept off the ground) than square bales. Aside from the bale size being made, there are many differences among round balers and selection of a machine that best matches your needs is key. The first important question is, “Do you intend to use the machine for dry hay or baleage (or both)?� Interest in baleage is rapidly expanding as a method to harvest and store high-quality forage on beef and dairy farms. However, it is important to remember that a bale of baleage weighs three to four times as much as a bale of hay, straw, or cornstalks of the same size. The heavier duty silage balers are better able to handle baleage without breakdowns and will generally produce better bales.

Variable or fixed chamber? The second consideration is fixed versus variable chamber balers. The variable chamber baler has been the most common in the U.S. The belts will make bales of more consistent density throughout the bale and of greater density (important for baleage) than a fixed chamber baler. Fixed chamber balers are mechanically simpler, as they don’t need the mechanism that varies the chamber size as the bale grows. These balers will make bales that have less dense centers. Some have claimed that this is good for drying hay; however, research has shown no drying advantage to hay bales made at 16 to 18 percent moisture with low-density centers. Hay bales with less dense centers may be advantageous when feeding smaller animals that have less trouble tearing the lower density center of the bale apart when eating at a feeder. Until recently, most variable balers would not bale in wet forage conditions due to gumming on the belts. This was

less of a problem for fixed chamber balers. Newer variable chamber balers have designs to reduce the gumming issue on belts and bale chamber-forming rolls in wet conditions. Tractor ground speed must be lower for fixed chamber balers or bales will be less dense. One option is to drive faster initially and then slow down to 4 to 5 miles per hour (mph) for the outer bale shell. This drawback is more prominent with economy fixed chamber balers than high-end balers. Fixed chamber balers tend to be noisier than variable chambers due to the bale chamber chain operating on idlers. The other consideration is that most fixed chamber balers (except a few high-end models) can only make one bale size. This is fine for making baleage, but smaller bales are sometimes desired when making dry hay, especially if baling a little wet and wanting to minimize bale heating (smaller bales at 16 to 18 percent moisture heat less than bigger bales). A fixed chamber baler is also a disadvantage at the end of the field with a part bale in the baler where you have a clump of hay rather than a small bale.

Netwrap rules Most round baler manufacturers are moving away from twine to the use of netwrap or, more recently, solid plastic wrap. Wrapping is faster with plastic than twine. Furthermore, netwrap or solid plastic-wrapped bales have reduced leaf loss when handling. There is also less rain uptake if bales are left outside. However, plastic should be removed before feeding to animals, especially with bale feeding machines, since plastic remaining in the hay is consumed by animals and may cause health issues. Another consideration when selecting among balers is the number of bars on the pickup head. Economy models come with four bars while better machines have five. The five-bar designs tend to leave less hay in the field and have reduced leaf loss during pickup.

Consider purchasing a round baler equipped with a precutter. Cutting the hay or haylage into 4-inch lengths before baling has been shown to reduce feeding loss. This is because an animal is able to swallow most of a bite and not have to chew and drop lengths of the forage onto the ground. The reduced length of precut hay or haylage has been shown to boost forage intake and improve animal gain. Modest bale density gains might also occur. The recommendation is to precut to a 4-inch length, which most balers can achieve by removing some knives.

Recent innovations An option that may be advantageous, especially if making many alfalfa bales, is a bale accumulator. Forage starts to regrow as soon as it is cut. If taking a few days to dry, baling hay and bale removal drives down regrowth and reduces the yield of the next cutting. A bale accumulator will collect bales and drop them in rows or at the end of a field to reduce the amount of driving across the field needed to remove the hay bales. Always plan on removing bales from the field as quickly after baling as possible. One of the newest innovations for round balers is the introduction of bale wrappers. These balers will produce baleage wrapped in plastic ready for storage. Some of these balers eliminate the need to stop the baler for the wrapping process. These machines are much larger and costlier and are designed for farms or contract harvesters who harvest thousands of bales annually. DAN UNDERSANDER The author is an emeritus professor and retired extension forage specialist with the University of Wisconsin.

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The variable chamber baler (left) make bales with a more consistent density and allow for making differentsized bales. Fixed chamber balers (right) have traditionally had an advantage when baling wetter forages.

Match baler with tractor When purchasing a baler, consider the size and power of the tractor. The tractor horsepower needed for baling will depend on baler size, whether fields are level or sloped, desired baling speed, whether hay or baleage is being made, and if a bale accumulator is part of the package. Consider your tractor size and the front axle and

tire weight capacity for transporting bales, especially if you’re planning on carrying more than one bale on a front-end loader. Round balers are important tools for making quality hay. It is vital to consider these discussed factors when purchasing a baler that will meet a farm’s individual needs.

Lastly, here are a couple of management tips when making round bales: 1. It is always best to have a windrow as wide as the width of the baler pickup head for making uniform diameter bales. 2. Make baleage or bale hay when forage is slightly tough to minimize leaf loss with variable chamber round balers. •

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January 2019 | hayandforage.com | 21

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by Mike Rankin


ALIFORNIA’S Central Valley is a massive expanse of agricultural production. The sheer size of the valley is only matched by the variety of commodities produced. All major food groups have significant representation. Near the southern tip of the valley sits Tulare County and a city by the same name. To call Tulare a good dairy county would be akin to calling Illinois a little flat. The county is home to about 380,000 cows and is the largest dairy-producing county in the United States. It’s held that position for some time. Many of the dairy producers in that region rely on custom operators to harvest the massive amount of feed needed to sustain production. From a chopped-feed perspective, much of the dairy ration consists of corn silage and wheatlage, though alfalfa, sorghum,

and sudangrass are also utilized. Wheat is grown during the winter and harvested before corn is planted. A lot of the alfalfa produced is baled. Sitting at his desk, in a farm office just outside of Tulare, I found Matthew Sepeda, an amiable, well-spoken individual who started working for Vieira Custom Chopping Inc. 26 years ago. Since that time, forage choppers have been his life. These days, Sepeda is the general manager and chief financial officer for the company. He also owns a trucking business and helps his brothers at their nearby family farm.

Long history The predecessor of Vieira Custom Chopping began the business in 1954. The company had several owners until the current one, Arnold Vieira, bought the business in 1976. At one time, it was the largest forage chopping company in the world, operating 28 forage harvesters.

Mike Rankin

A 26-YEAR CHOPPER MAN Vieira Custom Chopping has assisted in testing John Deere forage harvesters for many years.

“We’d do from 1 to 1.2 million tons of corn every season,” Sepeda said. “With hay and wheat, that total would push to 1.4 million tons. Wheat wasn’t so popular then like it is today.” “In 1999, we decided to trim our workload and downsize,” Sepeda explained. “We went from 22 choppers down to 15.” These days, Vieira is semi-retired, though he still owns the company and stays close to the day-to-day operations

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A Deere relationship One thing making Vieira Custom Chopping a unique business is that they provide somewhat of a testing grounds for John Deere self-propelled forage harvesters. It’s been that way for a long time. “I’ve been here 26 years and John Deere has been here longer than that,” Sepeda said. “They generally have at least two machines here at any given time for us to test.” Most of Vieira’s fleet of 14 choppers consists of 7000 series John Deere units, though there are a few 8000 series machines as well. Last August, when I visited, three of Deere’s new 9000 series machines were being put through the paces of corn silage harvest. “With the combination of heat, dust, and big yields, these are pretty demanding conditions out here,” said Kyle Salsbery, a product verification and validation engineer for John Deere who oversees the on-site testing protocols. “If there are going to be opportunities for improvement, it’s easier to find them out here compared to the Midwest.” Vieira leases a shop building and

Matthew Sepeda has worked for Vieira Custom Chopping for 26 years. These days, the company chops about 700,000 tons of forage annually.

Mike Rankin

and business decisions. Vieira Custom Chopping currently owns and operates 14 self-propelled forage harvesters. It also has 10 mowers and one dozer tractor. Silage hauling and the majority of packing needs are usually subcontracted with other providers. “We serve about 30 dairy customers within a 25-mile radius of our home base,” Sepeda said. “We typically run four crews but will push to five during wheat season if needed. All totaled, we chop about 700,000 tons per year, including corn silage, alfalfa, wheat, and sudangrass.” Getting through the spring wheat-chopping season presents more of a challenge than corn, according to Sepeda. “Last year, we did 14,000 acres of wheat, over 200,000 tons, in a period of about 25 days. The thing about wheat is that it’s all ready at once. Also, wheat is a lot tougher to chop than corn because it’s more abrasive going through the machines. There’s just more dirt involved,” he said.

office space to John Deere. It’s here where system components are analyzed and detailed records are kept on performance. Salsbery and his team then share data and observations with engineers in Germany, where the self-propelled harvesters are assembled. Typically, several different iterations of a machine are built and tested before mass production protocols are finalized. “It’s a longer process than most people realize,” Salsbery said. The “on paper” design concept takes about one year. Three “mule builds” are then assembled to test the concept in hard iron; this may entail another two years. Next comes a “durability build,” which refines the machine closer to production intent. “We’ll run four of these units for two years or more and another six units for about a year,” Salsbery explained. “At this point, the machine is close to 75 percent of the final product.” The last step before final assembly protocols are put in place is the “limited production build.” These machines, of which 16 were built for the 9000 series, are 90 to 95 percent of what the final assembly will look like. They are tested in all of the major markets, according to Salsbery.

Current challenges The business of custom forage harvesting has never been one for the weak of heart. Scheduling jobs, meeting client demands, and working around the weather can bring even the strongest among the human race to their knees. For Sepeda, he adds labor as an

ever-growing business challenge. They currently employ about 35 people in the spring and 25 during the fall. “When I first started working here, we would have a stack of job applications,” Sepeda explained. “Today, we have to pursue potential employees on Craig’s List or by other means. We now have mostly Hispanic employees, and many of them have been with us for over 10 years.” Sepeda noted that there is a lot of variation in how clients and dairy nutritionists want their corn chopped. These variations can include cutting height, whole-plant moisture, and kernel processing protocol. “We try to educate our clients and the nutritionists on what is possible and recommended,” Sepeda said. “At the end of the day, however, we are providing a service. If the customer wants wet silage, that’s what we’ll do, even though it may not be ideal in our eyes or in the eyes of the industry.” At one time, it was difficult to meet the demands that clients and their nutritionists were making for kernel processing without severe wear on the processing units. That situation has changed dramatically over the years. “In addition to the enhanced power found in these new machines, I’ve been most impressed with the improvement in kernel processing,” Sepeda noted. “We need to have those kernel pieces under 5 millimeters, and these new processors can do that pretty easily. Boosting the roll speed differentials has really helped. It’s been a win-win for everyone involved.” • January 2019 | hayandforage.com | 23

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Mike Rankin

by John Goeser

Manure starch check on aisle 4


IMILAR to how my brother (an Air Force pilot) redirects his focus when conditions change, I’ve shifted the focus of my nutrition talks and meetings from discussing ways to boost production or gains to that of improving feed conversion. We’ve made this shift in the light of difficult economic conditions for dairy and beef producers. The dairy market, for example, is flooded with inventory globally, and supply-demand economics are dictating lower mailbox milk prices. Feed costs have softened slightly but not enough to keep “average” farms in the black. Looking ahead, average is nowhere near acceptable anymore, and we should re-evaluate our budgets to remain economically viable for years to come.

Nothing left to cut There are two core paths to improve your monthly budget — produce more (and in turn capture more income) or spend less. With the world not necessarily wanting more milk at the moment, the latter core budget approach, spending less, is a more sustainable goal. With most of the farms I’ve worked to support recently, nutritionists and owners have cut feed costs to the point where there is nothing left to take out of the diet without sacrificing health and performance. In some cases, too much has been cut already, and we’ve recognized some negative responses. So, if we can’t cut any more out of the

diets, how can we spend less on feed? The answer lies in feed conversion. We can find ways to feed a diet that provides more value per pound, thus reducing intakes and improving feed conversion efficiency. The average dairy cow captures nutritional value from about 60 to 65 percent (total digestible nutrients; TDN) of the total mixed ration (TMR). The range around the mean is substantial, with some lesser performing diets only around 45 percent TDN and higher performing herds upwards of 75 percent TDN with high-quality forages and feed conversion. There are a number of ways to gain more value per pound of TMR, with grain (starch) digestion being a big one. Diet starch comes from both forage and grain sources. Corn silage is making up more and more of the dairy diet, thus we should focus as much on kernel processing and starch digestion as we do on particle size with ground corn. The more digestible the grain (both from corn silage and corn), the more energy available and less total intake needed to yield the same performance. In order to start understanding this on your farm, start with evaluating manure starch levels to find conversion opportunities. Manure (fecal) starch evaluation is an easy place to start on-farm when troubleshooting economic performance to find opportunities. Both dairy and beef nutrition researchers have shown

us that manure (fecal) starch content is a great total-tract starch digestibility (TTSD) predictor. And TTSD can be our indicator toward feed conversion efficiency, with the goal being greater than 98.5 percent TTSD for dairies and feedlots; or less than 1 percent and less than 2.5 percent dry matter fecal starch for dairy and beef, respectively. Another way to grasp these benchmarks is to translate the TTSD into undigested corn grain equivalent like I did with a previous “Avoid feeding turkeys” article (Hay & Forage Grower, February 2018). In that article, we focused on dairy, but here I’ll add a feedlot calculation to consider. For a 22-pound dry matter intake finishing diet at 55 percent starch, a 93 versus 98 percent TTSD equates to about 1.8 pounds dry corn equivalent undigested and wasted, assuming 70 percent starch corn at 12.5 percent moisture. For the lesser starch digestibility case, steers may need to consume an additional couple pounds of grain equivalent through additional silage and grain to gain the same as a 98 percent TTSD situation.

Reduce particle size In the event that your dairy or feedlot identifies feed conversion opportunities with fecal starch, find ways to a finer grind or further process your silage and grain. Grain digestibility is largely dictated by particle size, seed genetics, and Mother Nature during the growing season. Then, ensiling further improves feed conversion potential with silages, high-moisture corn, and snaplage or earlage. Steam flaking is another option to improve feed conversion by expanding the surface area for digestion, disrupting the hard starch, and then also changing the density, which may lengthen rumen retention time. Work with your seed adviser and nutrition consultants to balance the factors that impact TTSD. Then assess the impact on feed conversion for your farm. •

JOHN GOESER The author is the director of nutrition research and innovation with Rock River Lab Inc, and adjunct assistant professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Dairy Science Department.

24 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2019

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Massey Ferguson debuts compact tractor series AGCO Corporation recently introduced its Massey Ferguson 1700M series compact tractor. Upgrades to the engine, emissions system, and cab make the 1700M Series the company’s most premium compact tractor to date. The 1700M Series tractors are ideal for general farm and property maintenance tasks, landscaping, small-scale road and land grading, and light construction. The 1700M series feature clean-burning Tier 4-compliant turbocharged diesel engines, with five models ranging from 36 to 60 horsepower (hp). The MF1735M and MF1740M are equipped with a Shibaura three-cylinder diesel. The MF1750M, MF1755M, and MF1760M are equipped with Shibaura four-cylinder diesel engines. All models meet Tier 4 emissions without using a diesel particulate filter (DPF). Emission standards are met using an exhaust gas recirculation valve (EGR) and a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), resulting in maintenance-free systems. Each model comes with the option of an open station platform or factory-installed cab. The open station features a wide, flat rubber floor for easy entering and exiting, an upgraded seat with armrests for greater comfort, and suspended

foot pedals. The rollover protection structure (ROPS) easily folds for storage in low-height barns or garages. A new deluxe cab option is available for the MF1740M, MF1750M, and MF1760M HST (hydrostatic transmission) models. The package features an air-ride seat for greater operator comfort; a radio, compact disc player, and Bluetooth; LED work lamps to enhance visibility; rear-windshield defroster; an improved sun visor with scissor bracket; and a new mesh storage pocket on the cab headliner. Both the standard and

deluxe cab are climate-controlled. All 1700M Series compact tractors have a 540 RPM (rotations per minute) independent rear power takeoff (PTO). An optional 2,000-RPM mid-mount PTO that engages electro-hydraulically with a simple twist of a knob is also available. Depending on the model, operators can select the 12 by 12 power shuttle transmission with a forward/reverse wet clutch. Clutching is never needed when starting from a standstill or changing directions. For more information, visit masseyferguson.us.

Case IH adds to Farmall tractor lineup A new level of cab comfort is now available in a smaller size with the release of Case IH Farmall utility A series — models 55A, 65A, and 75A. These new models help fill out the Case IH entry-level Farmall lineup with cab and noncab options. The new Farmall A series is engineered with heavy-duty powertrain components. The electronically controlled 2.9-L engines feature three cylinders and a tunnel block design that ensures ruggedness and easy maintenance. With Case IH FPT engines, Farmall utility A series tractors feature a mechanical transmission with eight forward and eight reverse speeds. Also available is an optional 12 forward and 12 reverse power shuttle, making loader work easier. With the expanded lineup of Farmall utility 55A, 65A, and 75A tractors, producers can now choose between cab and noncab models. The cab is climate-controlled with a mechanical contoured seat and tilt steering wheel that adjusts to create a personalized fit. An optional air ride feature elevates riding comfort.

Operation of the Farmall utility A tractors is further upgraded with new wrap-around lighting and movable dynamic fenders, improving turning radius for greater tractor maneuverability. Telescopic stabilizers and optional flex-end lower links keep implements steady and provide ease of implement installation. For more information, visit www.caseih.com.

The Machine Shed column will provide an opportunity to share information with readers on new equipment to enhance hay and forage production. Contact Managing Editor Mike Rankin at mrankin@hayandforage.com.

January 2019 | hayandforage.com | 25

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Deere launches new rotary cutters With an all-new deck and cutting chamber design, John Deere has introduced a new family of rotary cutters. A variety of working widths and configurations are available to mow grass, pastures, CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) land, road sides, or stalks. The new John Deere rotary cutter lineup includes the E-, M-, and R-series that replace the existing John Deere MX, HX, and CX Flex-Wing rotary cutter series. E-series rotary cutters include a new 12-foot E12 along with a 15-foot E15. The M-series is comprised of the M15 (15-foot) and M20 (20foot) models. The top-end R-series includes a 10-foot size, followed by the R15 (15-foot) and R20 (20-foot) models. With an emphasis on improved cutting performance, the foundation of all three-model designations is a new deck and cutting chamber design. A larger volume cutting chamber improves cutting quality when operated at today’s desired higher ground speeds. Up front, a new suspended front mount improves machine stability by isolating the movement of the cutter deck relative to the tractor and vice versa. This helps reduce stress on the machine while delivering a comfortable ride for the driver. A new torsional rear suspension system is an option for the M-series and is included in the base package for the R-series. The suspension further improves machine stability while delivering an improvement on cutting height. Maintenance-free bushings and sealed-wheel bearings (R-series only) reduce maintenance requirements. E-series cutters feature a 75-horsepower (hp) gearbox and Category 4 driveline. A 100hp gearbox and Category 5 driveline are base equipment on the M-series, with an option to upgrade to a higher-performing 125-hp gearbox with a Category 6 driveline. All R-series cutters feature a new 125-hp gearbox and Category 6 main driveline. For more information, visit JohnDeere.com/ag.

Disc mower-conditioner unveiled by Massey Ferguson AGCO Corporation recently unveiled the Hesston by Massey Ferguson RazorEdgeTM 1300 series pull-type disc mower-conditioners. They replace the previous RazorBar models and include four different-sized models: MF1373, a 9-foot, 10-inch side-pull model MF1376, a 9-foot, 10-inch center-pivot model MF1393, a 13-foot center-pivot model MF1395, a 16-foot center-pivot model Each of the new RazorEdge 1300 series mower-conditioners is equipped with the RazorEdge cutterbar, which has a spur gear design to provide a thin profile and close cutting without tilting the header to minimize scalping, limiting dirt and debris in the crop. Scrapers on the cutterbar also help keep the cutterbar clean by sweeping mud and debris off. The cutterbar also has a modular design so each gear assembly and adjacent idler gear can be individually removed without disassembly of the entire cutterbar. Counter-rotating discs provide improved cut quality while minimizing crop streaking. The heavy-duty, cast iron gearbox is a standard feature that is designed to handle tough conditions and provide long life. Each RazorEdge mower-conditioner comes factory-equipped with 18-degree “high lift� bottom-bevel Radura knives. Other knife options also are available through AGCO Parts to match various crop and field conditions. To minimize downtime, an optional quick-change knife system and the handy, new quick-change tool make fast work of replacing cutterbar knives. The RazorEdge mower-conditioners crimp the crop every 3 to 4 inches with a single set of steel-on-steel conditioner rolls. The herringbone tread design feeds and conditions material more evenly for improved windrow formation. In addition to the standard steel-on-steel conditioner rollers, operators may choose rubber-on-rubber conditioner rolls on models 1373 and 1376 and rubber-on-steel conditioner rollers for models 1393 and 1395. The rubber-on-steel conditioner rolls are fully engaged with a rubber top roll and steel bottom roll to crimp plant stems along their entire length so stems dry at the same speed. Models 1393 and 1395 use the industry-exclusive hydraulic roll conditioning tension system while models 1373 and 1376 use a spring tensioner. The 1373 and 1376 are also available with a tine conditioner or may be ordered without a conditioner. For more information, visit masseyferguson.us.

26 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2019

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FORAGE IQ American Forage & Grassland Conference January 6 to 9, St. Louis, Mo. Details: afgc.org

Mid-America Alfalfa Expo

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Western Alfalfa Seed Growers Assn. Winter Seed Conference January 27 to 29, New Orleans, La. Details: www.wasga.org

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Most markets are showing strength All politics is local and the same can probably be said about hay markets. It’s clear that hay prices for all qualities are stronger than one year ago in the Midwest and East. Out West, where exports and large dairies are primary hay destinations, it’s a mixed bag. Prices for Supreme

and Premium qualities of hay are steady to somewhat weaker than a year ago. However, lower quality hay prices remain strong. The prices below are primarily from USDA hay market reports as of the beginning of November. Prices are FOB barn/stack unless otherwise noted.•

For weekly updated hay prices, go to “USDA Hay Prices” at hayandforage.com Supreme-quality alfalfa California (Intermountain) California (northern SJV) Colorado (northeast) Colorado (northeast)-ssb Iowa-ssb Kansas (all regions) Minnesota (Pipestone)-ssb Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Missouri Montana New Mexico (eastern) Oregon (Klamath) Oregon (Lake County) South Dakota (East River) Texas (Panhandle) Utah (all regions) Washington (Columbia Basin) Wyoming (eastern) Premium-quality alfalfa California (Intermountain) California (Sacramento Valley) California (southern) Colorado (southeast) Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas (all regions) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Missouri Nebraska (western) New Mexico (southern) Oklahoma (central/western) Oregon (Harney County) Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (East River) Texas (west) Utah (northern) Washington (Columbia Basin) Wyoming (central/western)-ssb Good-quality alfalfa Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley)-Irb Kansas (all regions) Minnesota (Pipestone)-lrb Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Missouri Montana (eastern) Nebraska (east/central) Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb New Mexico (southern) Oklahoma (central/western) Oregon (Lake County) Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb

Price $/ton 220-225 275 220 325 300-360 185-210 275 210-240 180-225 150 270-300 280 200 230 275-300 170-200 200-210 200 Price $/ton 210 240 275 235 195 163 170-195 210 150-200 170-180 200-210 200-220 192 295-320 200 275-280 150-170 195 200-225 Price $/ton 195 140-155 160--170 140-145 180-210 120-160 240-250 160-180 105-115 180-190 180-200 160 185-215 115-118

(d) (d)

(d) (o)





South Dakota (East River) Texas (Panhandle) Utah (central) Washington (Columbia Basin) Wisconsin (Lancaster) Wyoming (all regions) Fair-quality alfalfa California (Intermountain) California (northern SJV) Colorado (southeast)-ssb Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Kansas (all regions) Minnesota (Sauk Centre)-lrb Missouri Montana Montana-lrb Oklahoma (central) Oregon (Lake County) Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (East River) Utah (northern) Wisconsin (Lancaster)-lrb Wyoming (central/western) Bermudagrass hay Alabama-Premium lrb Texas (Panhandle)-Good/Premium lrb Texas (south)-Good/Premium lrb Bromegrass hay Colorado (northwest)-Premium Kansas (southeast)-Good ssb Missouri-Good Orchardgrass hay California (Sacramento Valley)-Premium Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium ssb Wyoming (central/western)-Premium ssb Timothy hay Idaho-Premium Montana-Premium ssb Montana-Good-ssb Oregon (eastern)-Premium ssb Pennsylvania (southeast)-Premium Oat hay California (Sacramento Valley)-Good Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Oregon (Lake County)-Good Straw Alabama Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas (north central/east) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Montana Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (East River)

180 250 100-120 150-180 180-235 140-150 Price $/ton 160 190 230 160 118-138 140-170 140-155 100-120 90-120 80-100 140-160 150 160 150 60-90 125 130-150 Price $/ton 87-133 180-205 120-200 Price $/ton 240 145-155 120-150 Price $/ton 240 230-240 200-225 Price $/ton 240 225-240 160-180 200 280-320 Price $/ton 108 113 100 Price $/ton 160 108-155 100-110 50-100 35-40 170-210 120


(d) (o)


Abbreviations: d=delivered, lrb=large round bales, ssb=small square bales, o=organic

34 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2019

F2 34 Jan 2019 IQ_Market Update.indd 1

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SINCE 1958

WE’VE BEEN PLANTING FOR THE FUTURE SINCE OUR FIRST BAG OF SEED. In 1958, the founders of W-L Alfalfas saw something no one else did: the future of the industry. Throughout the six decades since, we have been focused on one thing: bringing you the highest-producing, highest-quality alfalfa seed in the world.


HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology and Roundup Ready® Alfalfa are subject to planting and use restrictions. Visit www.ForageGenetics.com/legal for the full legal, stewardship and trademark statements for these products. W-L Alfalfas is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. © 2018 Forage Genetics International, LLC



Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC, used under license by Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC.



Ken Hein Dairy Producer Vince Tichy Encirca Certified Services Agent

Chad Erickson Pioneer Sales Professional

Dairy producers are in the zone when they have the products, resources and support to get results — right at their fingertips. To see firsthand accounts of how The Silage Zone® resource is helping producers achieve their goals year after year, visit pioneer.com/silagestories.


Pioneer ® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchase which are part of the labeling and purchase documents. Trademarks of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont or Pioneer, and their affiliated companies or their respective owners. © 2018 PHII. PION8GENL070_FP4

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Description: Forages Barn Ad VAR1

12/12/18 3:11 PM

Client: Pioneer

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